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DoD recovers, identifies 17 service members killed in 1952 crash

Jun. 18, 2014 - 07:39PM   |  
In this June 25, 2012, photo provided by the Army, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) recovery team works at the site where military aircraft wreckage was found on Colony Glacier, Alaska. The surface was marked with deep crevasses so the team took numerous safety precautions to mitigate the risk. The five-man team initially went out to investigate the area, but deteriorating conditions on the glacier caused the team to transition into recovery mode to ensure the most amount of evidence could be recovered for further analysis at JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory.
In this June 25, 2012, photo provided by the Army, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) recovery team works at the site where military aircraft wreckage was found on Colony Glacier, Alaska. The surface was marked with deep crevasses so the team took numerous safety precautions to mitigate the risk. The five-man team initially went out to investigate the area, but deteriorating conditions on the glacier caused the team to transition into recovery mode to ensure the most amount of evidence could be recovered for further analysis at JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory. (Jamie D. Dobson/Army via The Associated Press)
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The Defense Department has recovered the remains of 17 service members killed in a cargo plane crash almost 62 years ago.

The 17 service members were aboard a C-124 Globemaster on Nov. 22, 1952, en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, when the plane crashed on Alaska’s Mount Gannett. Eleven crewmen and 41 passengers were on board.

At the time, adverse weather hindered recovery attempts. Multiple search parties were unable to locate and recover any remains.

Nearly 60 years later, on June 9, 2012, an Alaska National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk spotted wreckage during a training mission over the Colony Glacier, according to the Defense Department. Three days later, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and Joint Task Force team landed at the site to photograph and recover artifacts.

A year later, more artifacts were visible and a team conducted another search.

The Armed Forces DNA Laboratory used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the 17 service members, according to the Defense Department. Remains of the other 35 service members have not been recovered, and the site will be monitored for future recovery attempts.

The recovered service members are:

Air Force — Col. Noel Hoblit, Col. Eugene Smith, Capt. Robert Turnbull, 1st Lt. Donald Sheda, 1st Lt. William Turner, Tech. Sgt. Engolf Hagen, Staff Sgt. James Ray, Airman 1st Class Marion Hooton, Airman 2nd Class Carroll Dyer, Airman 2nd Class Thomas Lyons, Airman 2nd Class Thomas Thigpen, and Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin.

Army — Lt. Col. Lawrence Singleton, Pvt. James Green Jr., and Pvt. Leonard Kittle.

Marine Corps — Maj. Earl Stearns.

Navy — Cmdr. Albert Seeboth.

Their remains will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

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